Taking into account the broad, intergenerational audience The Melting Pot serves, Miller advises restaurants interested in large-format menu development to avoid narrowing the restaurant’s guest base by creating dishes that include too many potential allergens or ingredients that may need to be modified.
He also stresses the need to test dishes. “For a single-plate item, there are only so many variables that could be considered,” he says, but when offering something to a group of people, those variables multiply. It is best to be prepared and streamlined, he says.
New locations and recent remodels in general are leaning more into the interactive character of the brand. Although no two locations are the same, the brand is building more open designs with larger casual/social bar elements and open cheese and chocolate kitchens where guests can experience more of the making of their fondue. The first few examples of this new design can be found at the brand’s locations in Red Bank, New Jersey and El Paso, Texas.
The Melting Pot’s cocktail menu, too, has been revamped. Primarily, the brand is shifting to more clean and simple ingredients, but the wine tasting areas—where guests can blend the perfect glass of wine—are also adding a new feature, the option to barrel age a cocktail.
The process takes 21 days, at which time the guests comes back to see their small oak barrel fitted with a spicket and enjoy the shareable cocktail with friends. “On the surface, you might think it's a novelty,” Miller says, “but it's actually something with a lot of integrity. It truly gets aged, and you definitely taste the difference. We’ve had a lot of positive feedback on it.”
The Melting Pot hopes options like the mini barrel aged cocktails and new grill cooktops will attract more guests to come in and engage—on premises—with one another and the brand.